Nurses who punish complaining patients feel MEC’s wrath

2014-07-10 18:06

Patients around Thokoza and Vosloorus townships on the East Rand are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Nurses prescribe expired medication to them and when they complain, they are punished by being told to come to the clinic every day to receive the daily dose of their chronic medication.

On top of that, Phola Park Clinic in Thokoza, which is supposed to operate 24-hours a day, does not take patients after 11am. At night, the gates are closed and the nurses on night shift sleep the night away.

These are some of the allegations levelled against nurses working at Phola Park and J Dumane Clinic in Vosloorus when the Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu made an unannounced visit to the facilities this morning.

Mahlangu described what she had heard from the patients as disturbing and inhumane.

She instructed the clinic managers to take disciplinary action against the nurses who were implicated by the patients.

One of the patients, who claimed to have been waiting in the queue for three hours at J Dumane Clinic to get a file, said she and her aunt had on several occasions been given expired medication.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said: “When I complained to the nurses, I was told that it was either that [expired medication] or nothing.”

“I left with the expired medication because I had no option,” she said.

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Another patient, Sepati Moribi said she once also complained about the expired medication and the nurse who was dealing with her told her she would have to come back to the clinic every day to get her daily dose of chronic medication.

She said she ended up losing her job because she had to come to the clinic daily and spend hours in the queue.

Mahlangu promised patients like Moribi that action would be taken against those who had been found to be maltreating patients.

“The attitude of some of the nurses seems to be the biggest problem.

“Patients told me that some of the nurses don’t want them to come closer to them. What I can’t understand is how then are they supposed to treat patients if they don’t want patients to get closer to them?” Mahlangu said.

“If people don’t want to do their jobs, they must be fired. Nurses are supposed to take care of patients, not to abuse them.”

On the issue of expired medication, Mahlangu blamed poor control systems by managers. She said she was working with different structures to try and ensure that clinics have enough of the right medication.

Mahlangu will be visiting other health facilities across the province in the next few months to interact with patients and assess whether quality services are being offered.

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